The University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering a new course next semester titled “The Problem of Whiteness.”
The course description reads, “Have you ever wondered what it really means to be white? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably “no.” But here is your chance!”
It will be taught by Professor Damon Sajnani, who is a self-described “international radical” professor and known to be controversial on Twitter on issues like police brutality and the Ku Klux Klan.
— ProfessorD.us (@profd) August 7, 2016
Is the uprising finally starting? Is this style of protest gonna go viral? pic.twitter.com/z0Kjgqbq4Q
— ProfessorD.us (@profd) July 8, 2016
“Critical Whiteness Studies aims to understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy,” the course description continues.
This course is not going over well with some, including Wisconsin Rep. Dave Murphy. Murphy is the chairman of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities and has asked the university to cancel the course, threatening to pull funding.
“I am extremely concerned that UW-Madison finds it appropriate to teach a course called, ‘The Problem of Whiteness,’ with the premise that white people are racist,” Murphy said in a statement regarding the class.
Murphy also shows concerns about the professor in his statement.
“Even more troubling, the course is taught by a self-described ‘international radical’ professor whose views are a slap in the face to the taxpayers who are expected to pay for this garbage.”
The legislator is prompting the university to discontinue the course.
“If UW-Madison stands with this professor, I don’t know how the University can expect the taxpayers to stand with UW-Madison.”
Milwaukee Country Sheriff David Clarke is also chiming in on the situation as he wrote on Twitter, “This is racism against white people. ALL racism is wrong. This garbage is being taught at a state funded school.”
Sajnani is standing his ground. “Good day haters! Keep fueling me with your Tomfoolery. The angrier whites are about interrogating their identity the greater is the need 4 it,” he wrote yesterday on Twitter.
Good day haters! Keep fueling me with your Tomfoolery.The angrier whites are about interrogating their identity the greater is the need 4 it
— ProfessorD.us (@profd) December 22, 2016
The course is receiving both negative and positive feedback online.
“‘The problem with whiteness’ this is low. I am no racist and don’t deserve to be treated that way because of my race,” one person writes on Twitter.
"The problem with whiteness" this is low. I am no racist and don't deserve to be treated that way because of my race https://t.co/kYk3za16Rj
— EmilyVanamburgh (@EmmyvXOXO) December 21, 2016
Another person wrote, “My only complaint about this course is that I already graduated from the UW and can’t take it.”
@profd my only complaint about this course is that I already graduated from the UW and can't take it.
— Kelsey Manders (@klmanders) December 22, 2016
The university is not backing down either, releasing a statement saying the course, “will benefit students who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of race issues.”